Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD has said the incident that took place this week in Castleblayney, Co. Monaghan which resulted in the death of one man and the injury of another, must act as a wakeup call to Government regarding unexecuted bench warrants.
It has since emerged that the individual suspected of killing a man and injuring an on duty Garda on Tuesday night was previously involved in a serious hit and run incident. This individual was also later charged with a number of driving related offences but failed to appear in court. A warrant for his arrest has been outstanding since January, 2011.
Deputy O’Callaghan said, “Bench warrants are warrants for arrest issued after a person has outright failed to appear in court. In this particular instance, the failure to properly execute one has meant that this suspect has been at liberty for over 7 years.
“Failing to arrest those that have not appeared in court as ordered represents very clear dysfunction in our criminal justice system. Yet, this week’s incident is not the first to shed light on this matter.
“In 2014 the Garda Inspectorate highlighted problems with the execution of bench warrants in this country. The following year, the Law Reform Commission reiterated these issues.
“As I discovered earlier this year, at least one in six Garda Stations in the State cannot access the PULSE system due to a lack of internet connectivity. This, combined with a lack of upgrades in technology is undoubtedly playing a major role in the failure to execute warrants.
He concluded, “This is something the Government needs to urgently address to adequately protect the public and to guarantee that no more incidents of this nature arise in the future.”